What is Tar and Chip Paving? - Paving Services 101

June 11, 2021

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What is tar and chip paving? This is vital for property owners to understand, as knowing the difference between asphalt, concrete, gravel, tar and chip, and other paving materials can ensure you choose the right one for your property!

Check out some important information about paving materials including chip seal options. You can then discuss these choices with a paving contractor near you as needed.

paving a road with tar and chip

What Is Tar and Chip?

Tar and chip pavement is made with layers of liquid asphalt or bitumen, similar in consistency to tar, and aggregate, or chips. Tar and chip pavement starts with a gravel base, which provides a solid foundation for the next layers.

Bitumen and then those aggregates or chips are sprayed over that gravel base. These layers are pressed or compacted so the pavement becomes flat. The bitumen then dries and hardens, providing a dense and durable pavement surface.

Tar and chip versus asphalt

Asphalt and tar and chip pavement are both composed of the same materials; however, asphalt is premixed and then spread onsite while still hot, rather than applied in layers. As with tar and chip, asphalt is flattened with a roller and then allowed to dry and cure.

Tar and chip versus chip seal or sealcoating

Tar and chip installation provides an excellent paving option for public roadways, parking lots, and even driveways, as the material is affordable, cures quickly, and offers lots of traction. Adding a layer of this material over existing asphalt is also an excellent way to keep that pavement in good condition!

Adding this layer over existing asphalt is called a chip seal or sealcoating. This process can fill in tiny cracks, restore the pavement’s appearance, and provide protection against outside weather, heavy vehicles, and the like. Chip sealing is also recommended before restriping a roadway or parking lot; fresh sealcoating offers added contrast between those lines and the pavement, ensuring visibility.

A chip seal or sealcoating also means not having to tear out existing asphalt, saving on this expense and mess! You can extend the life of your property’s asphalt and make it look like new again by investing in regular chip sealant or sealcoating for that property, for a fraction of the cost of new asphalt installation.

what is tar and chip

Is Concrete Better?

Concrete consists of cement binders, sand, and an aggregate. The material dries and cures to a dense, durable pavement that lasts for years. There are, however, some reasons to consider asphalt installation versus concrete:

  •       Asphalt or tar and chip installations are usually far cheaper than concrete.
  •       The naturally dark color of tar and chip pavement can mean less glare on sunny days and better contrast for lines and other markings.
  •       Asphalt and tar and chip pavement offer more traction than concrete, reducing the risk of collisions.
  •       The bumpy surface of asphalt or tar and chip pavement discourages standing water, for less risk of water damage. This also adds to the pavement’s increased traction.
  •       Darker asphalt holds heat better than concrete, which encourages snow and ice to melt in wintertime!
  •       Property owners can typically patch small cracks and chips in damaged asphalt more easily than DIY concrete patching.

How Gravel Differs

Gravel driveways and roadways usually start with compacted soil over which gravel is sprayed. That gravel might also then be pressed or rolled, to keep those chips in place and ensure a flat, even surface for driving. One advantage to gravel pavement is that you can find a wide variety of chip shapes and colors, so you can personalize the look of a roadway or driveway easily.

While gravel driveways are also affordable and easy for homeowners to install themselves, those chips will eventually loosen; they can also go flying in any direction if you should take off too quickly! Gravel is also difficult for pedestrians to manage, increasing the risk of trip and fall accidents.

Since tar and chip pavement uses liquid asphalt as a binder, the pavement is much safer for vehicles and pedestrians. This type of pavement also tends to stay compacted and in place more readily than gravel, ensuring your roadway or driveway looks its best for as long as possible.

paving companies

Plano Asphalt Paving is happy to explain what is tar and chip to our readers and hopefully you found this information helpful. For more information or for a quote on asphalt installation, turn to our trusted Plano asphalt installation contractors. We have over 20 years of industry experience and ensure quality work on every project! To find out more, give us a call today.

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